Regenerative Organic Certified – ROC
Hope and determination are what started Regenerative Organic Certified. It was founded by three companies who, as Elizabeth Whitlow, the Executive Director of the ROC told me “have organic as part of their DNA”.
Patagonia, Dr. Bronner’s, and the Rodale Institute came together in 2017. These were businesses that based their brands on helping to make the planet healthier. Their goal was to use their influence to encourage people to “Farm like the World Depends on it”.
When I spoke with Elizabeth, she told me that Dr. Bronner’s was well on their way to move all of the farmers, for things like mint, palm, and cocoa, in their supply chain to Regenerative Organic Certified.
Patagonia of course has always been an advocate for the planet. Their founder Yvon Chouinard had a vision to use their resources and voice to make a change in the climate crisis. While they have a billion-dollar clothing business, they are pivoting to their food division Patagonia Provisions, “because food is a much more powerful tool for making change”. As a company, they are dedicated to making Yvon Chouinard’s vision come to life.
The Rodale Institute was instrumental in bringing organic agriculture to the United States. They continue with their four-decades-long study “The Farming Systems Trial”, which shows daily that organic agriculture is the way of the future.
Together these three companies created a pilot program of 19 farms around the world based on three pillars, soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness. Elizabeth came on to launch the pilot after having spent years with CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers). She watched the transition from conventional farming to Organic and now gets to watch it move beyond that.
One thing that she mentioned about these changes in agriculture is that farmers, need to see it happen firsthand.
“…every farmer is always looking over their neighbor’s fence. What is she doing over there? What is he doing? What is this new rotational grazing thing like? I remember everybody in the dairy world in Sonoma County used to make fun of this one farmer…And every one of them now does it because they also saw that the feed truck quit coming over there because the cows were eating off the pasture… he was getting an extra two months of grazing.
And guess what? The vet didn’t have to go over there anymore… because the cows were walking out in the pasture like they are supposed to and they were eating grass…The milk tank kept coming and picking up milk. He got a new tractor, he got a new car… So that’s how farmers make change. They’re smart business, people, but they do need to see it in action.”